Eurotrip 2011: Prague.2

Chances are that we've already toured and written about your favorite European city. Check out the full Eurotrip write-up here!

During our first day in Prague, we were quickly discovering there was more to do and see than two days would allow for. That called for only one thing: A segway tour around the city. Now you'd think that we'd be looking for another winning bike tour after so many enjoyable experiences in London, Paris, and Amsterdam. But don't forget: We were on vacation, not an Iron Man race. And Prague is quite hilly. So effort-free is the route we took.

Learning how to ride a segway didn't take too long. It's all about balance and weight distribution. But expert status didn't come without a couple near crashes into curbs and cars.

Sorry if I look a bit underwhelmed by the John Lennon wall.
I was still feeling unstable on the segway,
and wouldn't even allow myself to hold the camera.
So we motored around the city, cruising the cobblestone streets, learning about the history and culture of Prague. We stopped briefly to look at the lovers' bridge below, the bars of which are masked by all sorts of locks that couples have added, throwing away the keys into the river, supposedly sealing their love forever. There was absolutely no room left, unless you planned on attaching to an existing lock (which seemed weird to me. Not that the whole concept isn't a bit weird.)

Here are a couple photo highlights from the tour:

First, one of my highlights.

The narrowest street in Prague. It doesn't have a name
(so technically isn't an actual street), but it does have two traffic lights
at the top and bottom so that you know when it's your turn to go.
Second, one of his highlights.

A pair of peeing mechanical bronze statues. 
The streams of water pour into the outline of the Czech Republic, 
and the statues write quotes from famous Prague residents.

[Sorry about that last one. Probably not appropriate for younger readers (if there are any). But he liked it so much.]

As I said, Prague is built on rolling hills, so we benefited from being on the segways when climbing to the doorstep of Prague Castle. Even if we had ascended by foot, the views would have been well worth it.

As I learned on the photo tour in Paris, make sure to shoot the people. (That sounds super morbid. It's not.)

My definition of a good photo: Interesting foreground and interesting background.

Found the sgraffito on the Schwarzenberg Palace in Hradcanske Square
to be impressive in its detailing.

From the castle, we easily scooted across to the public gardens that overlook the city. (What verb should be used for moving about on a segway? We "segwayed"? I chickened out and used "scooted".)

The gardens were my favorite part of the tour. What is it about green spaces within cities that make me so unreasonably happy?!

Our tour guide noted that as these were public gardens, the fruit was ours for the taking. That's all the encouragement NS needed; he climbed a tree and was tossing pears to the everyone on the tour faster than I could even get my camera out.

Absolutely delicious wild fruit - so sweet and refreshing.
We were quite satisfied with our segway tour experience, and with Prague in general. For more tour photos taken by the guide, see the following link

As our tour ended, dinner time was fast approaching. We found a wonderful Italian restaurant called Grosseto Ristorante, located on a large boat on the river with a marvelous view of Charles Bridge and Prague Castle (especially since we held out for a table by the window.)

Not a bad place to be kept waiting.
 I kept an eye on the sunset's aftermath behind the city skyline while enjoying pumpkin soup followed by a personal pizza.

It's hard to have a concept of what things really cost in Prague when your casual dinner bill comes out looking like this:

Fortunately, that converts to about $40.

The last leg of our first day in Prague consisted of us once again donning our trusty backpacks and taking the train to our host's neighborhood. We found the building after only a bit of wandering, and then climbed the stairs to the 5th floor to get to her flat. This particular couchsurfing experience proved to be our most interesting one of all. K's flat was very earthy-feeling, with exposed beams and skylights and lots of tribal decorations. It was small, but felt open because of the many windows and glass doors within the apartment. Even the bathroom had a glass door (albeit somewhat wavy glass, so that you could see shapes, but not details). K herself was a very honest, open, giving individual - totally sweet and absentminded and endearing. She apologized for the state of her apartment, which still had the remnants of her five-year-old daughter's birthday party lying about, and she didn't fuss about the half-folded laundry or the sink full of dishes. I guess it actually put us more at ease to be in a relaxed atmosphere. She noted that her long-time boyfriend was out of town and insisted that we use her bedroom, while she shared her daughter's room. 

Bedtime couldn't come soon enough for me. We finally retired to her glass-enclosed bedroom (while I made a mental note that this trip was determined to rob me of all privacy), lying down on the hardest bed I hope to ever encounter - a wooden platform bed covered by a thin foam mattress (which I would refer to as "egg crates".) Comfort-wise, it was no better than sleeping on the ground. I tried to find a position that would cushion as many bones as possible, and finally called it a night. At least I knew that another day touring Prague would come in the morning.